To make your Gratitude Jar find a fun jar (these were made from a jelly jar) and decorate it in a creative way. We tied wired ribbon onto the jar and decorated the tops with self-adhesive gems. Have your family make them too. Then write what you are grateful for each day on a piece of paper and put into your jar. Write what you are thankful for about your loved one and put those in their jars. Then take the papers out and read them next Thanksgiving or a day of your choice. Or you can use little pebbles and tell each person when you put one into their jar what you are grateful for.
But don't keep your gratitude hidden in a jar all year. Find ways of loving kindness or compassion to share to put your gratitude into action every day of the year. How can you view your life's glass as half full even when things are difficult? That can be the most important time of all to express your gratitude!
Research has shown that people who practice gratitude are happier. In his book, Thanks! How Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier, Robert Emmons, professor of psychology at UC Davis, says people aren't "hard-wired" to be grateful. It's a skill that must be intentionally learned, cultivated, and practiced." The benefits are less stress, a stronger immune system, better sleep, more energy, less anxiety and depression.
Aren't these great reasons to practice gratitude? Check out unstuck.com and the Expanding Gratitude Project that have tips on how to be positive and grateful. I take a new magazine called Live Happy that focuses on how to be happy! Check out www.actsofhappiness.org
Find small things to celebrate, like the garbage company picking up your trash, a hug from a friend, or the loving presence of your pet. Donate food to your local food bank, send a note of gratitude to a friend or family member, smile and acknowledge others in a store, buy a sandwich for a homeless person.
Be creative! Be grateful! And feel the love in your heart grow and expand every day! Watch the world become a happier place one day at a time thanks to each of us practicing GRATITUDE!